Dear Diary: “Let Them Play, Explore & Get Dirty”

Dear Nate,

As you quickly approach your 4th birthday I am writing this post to celebrate your life. You may only be 3 right now, but I can’t believe someone as young as you can boast such intelligence, be creative, resourceful, a quick learner and adventurous! I love you for this!

I hope you are enjoying your childhood. I hope I am a good Mommy to you…I worry every day if I am doing enough for you. I wish I could raise you on a farm, that would be a dream come true. Instead I offer you freedom in our garden and we make the best of it, right?

I know that your favorite place in the whole wide world is OUTDOORS. That makes me so proud Nate, especially when I hear stats on the news how children your age spend more than 4 hours a day watching TV and playing on iPads.

I took all these pictures of you to capture what makes you the happiest boy in the world.

I love you to the moon and back Nate.

Here you are caring for your chickens (Victoria AKA Vicky + Ocean + Kooky)

Digging for worms! The more the merrier! Mommy spends 15 minutes a day helping you dig! I don’t mind because I see how happy it makes you! We giggle, have the best chats and compare who found the biggest worms! It’s always fun!

Gardening! You told me this year that you want to grow up to be a ‘farmer man’. You truly enjoy digging, planting seeds, taking care of our garden, chickens and your vegetable patch! You are a responsible young boy!

 

Being a “Mr. Fixer”. You are the best fixer! Not even 4 and you can use a screwdriver better than some adults. You are also a pro at hammering in nails!

Making mud & bike riding!

 Your Favorite Outdoor Toys:

  1. Bosch wheelbarrow and gardening tools
  2. A broom
  3. A shovel
  4. Toolbox with real tools + nails + piece of wood
  5. Bug catching machine
  6. Water/sand/mud “machines”
  7. Digger truck
  8. Your bike (which you learnt how to ride when you were 3! Yes 3! You are the best Nate)
  9. Your wooden playhouse (with swing set & slide)

Now I want to open this letter up to other Mom’s & Dad’s reading this (no matter if you have a son or daughter)

Stop panicking that your child will hurt themselves. Stop worrying about them getting dirt under their nails. Stop stressing about their clothes getting ruined or dirty (that’s why I let Nate dress himself).

Go on and let your children get out there and explore nature. It’s the best learning tool.

Did you know that trying to keep your environment chemically clean is having negative effects on our children’s’ health? When we protect them from dirt/germs it is actually increasing their chances of developing illnesses such as allergies, asthma, diabetes, celiac disease and even some cancers!

Nate never obliges to go outside. He could be sat watching his favorite TV show (I let him watch for 30 mins sometimes 1 hour in the morning while I tidy the house up) when suddenly I will ask him to go out with me. He springs up and is ready to get out and play! Being outside is so much more fun than in the house!

You will be amazed at some of the things they are capable of doing at such a young age when you let them!

Find out what they enjoy doing outside and encourage them to do more of it! Have a look at the photo of “Nate’s favorite toys” maybe it will give you some inspiration?

We started him off on a balance bike when he was 3 and within a matter of weeks he was biking on a two wheeler.

He received his first real toolbox around his 3rd birthday. I have been letting him play with real tools (nails, hammers, screwdrivers) since then. I know some parents get a bit freaked out by the idea. Which is why he only plays with them when he is alone under my supervision. I don’t want to be responsible if an accident happens when another persons child is around! He is perfectly capable of playing incredibly well on his own “fixing things”. Since he has been playing with real tools, he has learnt how to hammer a nail into wood, open the back of his toys up using a screwdriver + replace batteries and even screw in nails! It has really helped his coordination!

His gardening tools are real too! He has a metal spade and shovel. He helps me every single morning cleaning up chicken poop, making sure they have food, collecting vegetable scraps and changing their water. The chickens have taught him to have compassion and responsibility. We treat them with care and love, and in return they provide us with food. If you have the space outside, go and get some chickens! They make our garden and home that much more fun!

I teach my kids to save all of our vegetable and fruit scraps, we then chop them up into tiny pieces and feed them to the chickens. Whatever they don’t eat goes into a compost bin which later gets dispersed in the vegetable patch. It’s funny how such a small task of asking Nate to bring a bowl of scraps outside to feed our hungry hens brings him such joy! And I can’t forget the best part, finding fresh eggs each day! Nate loves eating hard boiled eggs too!  After we eat those eggs, he helps me crunch up the shells and spread them in the garden. The shells have wonderful minerals to feed the soil, which in turn feed the vegetables, which we then eat, and lastly our “girls” the chickens!

See how much you can learn from being outside and in nature?

All these activities he does help him to stay active and healthy. I hope I influence more parents to let their children get outside, get dirty and have fun!

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